Sufjan Stevens – “Casimir Pulaski Day” from Come On Feel The Illinoise (2005)
I don’t listen to this one too much when I am actually feeling sad, but when it comes on I can’t help but being swept up in the low-key sorrow in this tale of love, grief, and waiting.
The song does a pretty good job of translating a philosophical concern (the absence of God’s hand in human tragedy) into emotional affect, by using, guess what, specificity, storytelling, and a great fucking melody–hallmarks of any good song. Its literary affectations (“and the cardinal hits the window”) skirt the edge of corn canyon but end up underscoring the story with a sort of mysterious subtext that opens it up. Great, great song.
(By the way, Jord-dog and other SWR mutts: sometimes I have trouble distinguishing emotions from other states of mind, so my subsequent posts in this series may stretch the boundaries a bit. Like, hope is an emotion, I’m pretty sure, but is romantic love? How about meanness? Regret? Dejection? Guilt? It’s like taste–you can say that something tastes crunchy, but come on, that’s texture, not flavor. But texture is as important as flavor sometimes. Hmm.)
Posted by Glenn